Amakhosi victory ensures title race will go down to last day

2011-05-09 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs ensured that the race for the Absa Premiership title will go down to the last day of the season by thrashing log leaders Ajax Cape Town 4-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In a stunning performance that revitalised their hopes of winning the title, the Amakhosi surged into a 3-0 half-time lead through goals from Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Knowledge Musona and Siphiwe Tshabalala. “Shabba” added a fourth in the second half.

Chiefs should have had been awarded a penalty in just the second minute of the match.

Winger Mandla Masango was first impeded by a clumsy challenge from Clayton Daniels and then clearly tripped up by the hands of Hans Vonk, but referee Robert Sithole and his assistant ignored the home team’s strong appeals for a spot kick.

That early incident set the tone for the first half, with Chiefs utterly overrunning the log leaders and consistently breaching their backline through a combination of incisive passing and clever movement off the ball.

The Amakhosi created several great scoring opportunities before finally surging ahead in the 21st minute. Ajax failed to reorganise in defence after a Chiefs corner kick, and Josta Dladla was able to put Letsholonyane in a good shooting position — the dreadlocked midfielder provided a cool finish past Vonk’s right hand.

Twelve minutes later Siphiwe Tshabalala mesmerised the Ajax defence with a brilliant penetrative run before chipping the ball over Vonk and towards goal. Striker Knowledge Musona finished off the chance with a diving header to make it 2-0.

With the Cape side made to look utterly pedestrian, particularly in midfield, coach Foppe de Haan was forced into an unscheduled early substitution, pulling off Willard Katsande and replacing him with Nhlanhla Vilakazi, though the change made little immediate difference.

The Soweto giants added to their advantage three minutes before the end of the first half. This time Tshabalala was the scorer, finishing crisply with his left foot after arriving late in the box to latch onto a clever pull-back from Dladla.

The second half was more evenly matched, with the Urban Warriors (who surely got a roasting at the break from de Haan) looking much sharper in both attack and defence.

However, the visitors’ improvement was not enough to stop Amakhosi adding to their advantage midway through the second half. Masango found himself through on goal but unselfishly squared the ball for Tshabalala to score a tap-in and make it 4-0.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Orlando Pirates nicked a late goal to secure a 1-1 draw with Santos.

The result leaves the Buccaneers two points adrift of leaders Ajax Cape Town, with one game to go.

Bucs were in command for most of the game, but struggled to create clear-cut chances, and when they did, they found home keeper Tshepo Motsoeneng in great form.

Pirates made nearly all of the early running, getting several balls into the box, which were, however, comfortably dealt with by Santos shot stopper supreme Motsoeneng.

It was the home side, however, who were to take a shock lead after just six minutes as Erwin Isaacs volleyed home from close range after Jacob Mokhasi found himself caught out by Ricardo Skippers’ long ball into the box.

Following the goal, Bucs continued to enjoy most of the ball possession, but struggled to create clear-cut chances against a stubborn Santos defence.

But to Pirates’ credit, they kept on coming at the home side and their efforts were finally rewarded when Bongani Ndulula wriggled free of Zairon van Beulen before using the outside of his boot to flick the ball past Motsoeneng.

Vasco da Gama look the likeliest to end second-from-bottom, having been beaten 3-1 away to SuperSport United, but Moroka Swallows are not yet out of danger, after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bidvest Wits.

The Birds are two points clear of Vasco, but anything can happen on the last day of the season and the struggling pair’s matches will be just as important as those which could decide the destination of the title.

Bloemfontein Celtic claimed a 1-0 win over Black Aces, and they could pinch fourth place from Sundowns should they defeat the Brazilians by a four-goal margin in their meeting on the final day of the season.

The “battle of the Stars” between Platinum Stars and Free State Stars ended 1-1, while the Durban derby between Golden Arrows and AmaZulu at Chatsworth Stadium was a thriller, with Abafana Bes’thende coming from two goals down to win 3-2, thanks to a second half hat-trick from Bryce Moon.

— Backpagepix

 

SATURDAY’S RESULTS

Bloem Celtic 1 - 0 Black Aces

Golden Arrows 3 - 2 AmaZulu

Kaizer Chiefs 4 - 0 Ajax Cape Town

Maritzburg Utd 3 - 1 Mamelodi Sundowns

Moroka Swallows 1 - 1 Bidvest Wits

Platinum Stars 1 - 1 Free State Stars

Santos 1 - 1 Orlando Pirates

SuperSport United 3 - 1 Vasco Da Gama

 

PSL log

 

 

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